Trowers advises on innovative sub-sea electricity transmission project


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International law firm Trowers & Hamlins LLP has acted as UAE counsel on the successful financial close of a US$3.8bn sub-sea electricity transmission project.

Trowers advised a lender group in relation to a successful bid by a consortium of Kyuden International Corporation, Korea Electric Power Corporation and Électricité de France S.A. The lender group included government financial institutions, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the Export–Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) and commercial banks BNP Paribas Fortis SA/NV, Mizuho Bank, Ltd., Standard Chartered Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, DIFC Branch – Dubai. Trowers worked with Milbank LLP who acted as lead counsel to lenders on the project.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) are jointly procuring the development, known as Project Lightning, which involves the transmission of 3.2 gigawatts (GW) of electricity from ADNOC's onshore power plants to its offshore operations, through this US$3.8bn sub-sea electricity transmission project. 

The development is expected to reduce the carbon footprint of ADNOC's offshore operations by more than 30 per cent, replacing existing offshore gas turbine generators with more sustainable power sources from the Abu Dhabi onshore power network. 

More than half of the value of the project, which aims to strengthen ADNOC and TAQA's positions in supporting the UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative, will flow back into the UAE’s economy under ADNOC's In-Country Value (ICV) programme. 

With construction starting earlier this year, commercial operations of the project are expected to start in 2025. 

Partner Shaun Hardiman led the Trowers team with support from Elias Moubarak and Roger Clarke. 

Shaun commented:  

"We are pleased to have played a role in facilitating this innovative transaction that will bring considerable benefits to the UAE both environmentally and economically. This progressive deal further highlights ADNOC's commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and its desire to help shape a sustainable future for the region." 

Aled Davies, the partner who led the Millbank team, commented: 

"The deal structure threw up a number of local law challenges that needed to be worked through with the constructive approach and support of Trowers and Hadef."

Hadef & Partners advised sponsors as their UAE counsel on the project. 

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